DEQ offers update on Mike Horse Dam cleanup project

Posted at 9:57 AM, Dec 14, 2018
and last updated 2019-02-28 08:36:48-05

LINCOLN – Clean up on the Upper Blackfoot Mining Site near Lincoln has stopped for the season and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality says winterization activities are complete.

The DEQ hosted an open house in Lincoln on Thursday evening along with representatives from the US Forest Service and the Natural Resource Damage Program. Experts from Pioneer Technical Services and Missouri River Contractors were also at the meeting.

Project manager Dave Bowers said the open house was a chance for people to look at the scientific side of the work done at the site of the Mike Horse Dam in 2018.

“To be able to do something like this tonight offers something a little bit different,” he said. “We’re not just saying, here’s what we’ve done, but here’s kind of how we do it, and having people to have a chance to ask questions.”

DEQ officials say they removed 171,310 cubic yards of contaminated material from the banks and floodplains of the Blackfoot River and its tributaries this year.

That brings total removals to 870,000 cubic yards since the work started in 2014. They estimate by the end of the 2019 construction season, they will have removed at least one million cubic yards of waste.

The DEQ says that remediation work for the project will be completed next year under the existing contract with Missouri River Contractors. Restoration work will be completed under a separate contract and starts next year.

According to a site update provided by DEQ, this year they were able to construct a new stream channel from the confluence of Mike Horse and Beartrap creeks to the water treatment plant. They next plan to remove temporary construction road and complete floodplain restoration.

They also removed contaminants from a portion of the river from the water treatment plant to an area upstream of the Midnight Cabin. That area is called “Additive Alternative A.”

In “Additive Alternative B,” they began hauling waste but did not complete it, so the process will continue next year.

Click here to learn more about the project.

-Evelyn Schultz reporting for MTN News